Letter to Parents - update from Mrs Ryan 13th January 2021
Letter to Parents - update from Mrs Ryan 13th January 2021
13th January 2021
Reflection on first week of school closure and information going forward
I write to you this week to reflect on the first week of term and how things are progressing for the rest of this most unusual half term.
The announcement to close schools is a major blow but I do remain very positive that as we progress into the spring we can return to a level of normality, with good testing systems in place in our school and the vaccine taking effect to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
The first days of the term seem to have gone very well given that the school has been closed to normal learning with very short notice.What has been heartening is the level of communication between us all to overcome any issues. I know that this will continue and help us navigate these challenging times.
It is safe to say that we will be providing remote learning until at least Friday 12th February (up to half term), if the government extend the school closure period after that we will be ready to adapt to any updates. We have 100% live lessons on Microsoft Teams for Year 11 and a high percentage for other year groups, and we have the assignments in Teams to supplement these live lessons.
Your feedback has been incredible and clearly, as parents, you are doing an amazing job to balance your own work and domestic lives as well as supporting your children, in many cases with not enough devices to go around. Therefore, the message is clear, we can all only do our best.
I hope that this form of learning is temporary, but in the meantime, we will remain ambitious to ensure our pupils get a good deal. The school will ensure there is a period of ‘recovery curriculum time’ when pupils return to school so that any gaps due to technology issues can be addressed.
Attendance to live learning is not optional and all pupils are expected to attend every lesson, however we will be understanding in situations of temporary technology issues. Behaviour standards are expected to be exemplary and any pupils disrupting learning during live lessons could lose the option of attending live lessons with sanctions postponed until the return to school.
Free School Meals
We are still awaiting the promised government voucher scheme to start. In the meantime, if you require a Free School Meal please phone the school office before 10 am that day to obtain a lunch ‘grab bag’.
Year 9 Options
Mr Edwards, Miss Jones, Miss Doran and all Subject Leaders are working hard to prepare for the options process. We will ensure there are parent consultations and plenty of time for choices to be made this year. There will be many forms of communication to help pupils choose the right subjects and this information will be available in the coming weeks. My message to pupils in Year 9 is please don’t panic about your ‘Options’.
Year 11 Examinations
We are not going to wait for the government to announce their plans with Ofqual with regards to their plan for ‘a form of teacher assessment’ as there is precious learning time to be used wisely in the interim period. Therefore, ahead of any government announcements, lessons will continue as ‘normal’ and staff are making sure Year 11 cover the most appropriate content, to ensure our pupils are in the strongest position to achieve the Teacher Assessed grades they deserve.
It is vital that pupils view all work that they are doing as being a valuable piece of assessment evidence that may contribute to the teacher assessment.We want all of our pupils to achieve their absolute maximum performance but pupils will need to have the evidence in order for that to be achievable. Clearly, Ofqual and the government will need to be mindful of how much learning time pupils have lost.I will update you as soon as we receive clarification.
These will go ahead as planned for this half term, although they will be conducted remotely. Staff are currently familiarising themselves with the software. Year 11 parents will shortly be sent invites to remote meetings with their child's teachers. Each appointment with a teacher will last around 4 minutes so I am giving you advanced notice to enable you to prepare any questions you may have.
Year 11 progress reports will be sent out via post prior to parents’ evening.
The Year 11 remote Parents’ Evening is now Thursday 28th January, the Year 9 remote Parents’ Evening is Thursday 4th February and Year 10 remote Parents’ Evening will be on Thursday 4th March 2021. (Please note the date of Year 11 Parents’ Evening has changed to Thursday 28th January 2021, although some parents will be involved in a ‘trial’ on Thursday 21st January 2021).
Testing for Covid-19
Voluntary testing using lateral flow tests will continue for all of those staff and pupils currently in school on a weekly basis. I have no doubt that schools will be asked to mass test all pupils on their return to school from lock-down, which at this point in time looks like Monday 22nd February subject to the level of the virus across the country and within our communities and the progress made regarding immunisations.
I will continue to write to you with further updates but in the meantime, many of my team will provide updates through social media and via the school website. You can contact the school anytime using the email@example.com email address.I look forward to working closely with you over the next weeks and keeping you up to date on all school closure related matters.
Please see below a copy of a letter I have emailed to all pupils.
Mrs Amanda Ryan
Letter to pupils
Just a message to say well done for adapting so quickly to this new way of working. Despite having received training in school, we are aware the move to working remotely is massive for us all.
I have been impressed with your adaptability and how proactive you have been in attending your lessons and letting us know if you have encountered any glitches. As all pupils across the country adapt to this new way of learning, Hillside High School’s pupils are yet again making us extremely proud.
Just a few reminders:
You can access Teams on smart phones, tablets, computers, games consoles and smart TVs.
Accessing your online lessons is not optional. If you have a problem with your internet connection you must let us know.
If you are sharing technology you can also access your class work via assignments on Teams at a later date.
When taking part in an interactive session, you must behave in line with the school’s e-safety and IT acceptable usage policy.As a reminder, you agree to the acceptable use policy when you log in at the start of each year.Your conduct online must be in line with normal school expectations and standards.
If unwell and unable to attend lessons, the school attendance officer must be notified following the usual procedures.
It is really important that keep accessing Teams every day so you do not miss important announcements from your teachers. Keep up the great work ethic and please do not hesitate to let us know if you need any help accessing your lessons.
We are missing you so much and school certainly isn’t the same without you.We can’t wait to get you back, when we are allowed.